Only goal difference continues to separate first and second place in the Allsvenskan as Malmö and Helsingborg each scored victories in Round 28.
Pressure? What pressure?
Malmö FF certainly didn’t feel any as it romped 4-0 over BK Häcken Oct. 27 at Rambergsvallen. MFF went into the match needing a win to maintain its slimmest of leads over second-place Helsingborg, which beat Åtvidaberg 3-0 on Oct. 24.
Malmö did that and more.
Guillermo Molins and Daniel Larsson handed Malmö a 2-0 lead within a half hour of play while Yago Fernandez scored twice in the second half off free kicks as the league leaders proved they could win under pressure.
Malmö and Helsingborg came under criticism when neither club seemed able to hold onto an uncontested spot at the top of the standings. The two teams remain level on points, but Malmö holds an eight-goal edge in the goal-difference tie-breaker.
“It feels great,” said Malmö midfielder Ivo Pekalski, who returned to action in the Häcken match after missing six weeks with an injury.
“We played well and scored four goals. It feels like there is nothing holding us back now,” he said. “We have it in us. If we keep this same attitude, we will win the gold.”
There was even more spring in the step of the Malmö squad after hearing the news Hammarby had knocked Kalmar out of the running for the Swedish Cup. Kalmar beat Malmö Oct. 18, creating the logjam at the top of the table.
Helsingborg captain Marcus Lantz, who attended the Malmö game, said Malmö’s performance didn’t surprise him.
“They were much better than Häcken, just like we were against Åtvidaberg,” Lantz said. “Instead of going out and being nervous, they just went out and played.”
Most ever points in the league Malmö and Helsingborg both have 61 points and could finish with 67, the most ever for a championship team in Swedish football since the Allsvenskan adopted a three-points-per-win system. The front runners are 10 points clear of third-place Örebro, which played to a 1-1 draw with last-place Brommapojkarna.
“That’s the biggest surprise, that two teams in Sweden can be so superior to everyone else,” Lantz said. “It’s us and Malmö, then nothing. It’s strange that no teams can stand against us.”
Both teams are on the road again in Round 29, with Helsingborg facing Halmstad at Örjans Vall while Malmö plays BP at Grimsta IP. Lantz said he wasn’t sure who would have the easier match, although on paper at least, Malmö appears to have the weaker opponent.
“It hard to say that it’s an advantage for Malmö because BP has to take the points if they want to stay up in the Allsvenskan,” Lantz said. “At the same time, Halmstad is always tough.”
Although in last place, Bromma is just three points behind Åtvidaberg for the relegation playoff spot and six behind AIK for the final safe spot in the Allsvenskan.
Helsingborg could again put Malmö on the chopping block, however, as HIF plays Halmstad on Halloween while Malmö is in action a day later.
by Chipp Reid
Malmö 4, Häcken 0 GÖTEBORG—Yago Fernandez scored two second-half goals while Daniel Larsson and Guillermo Molins each had one in the first as Malmö doggedly held onto first place with a 4-0 win over Häcken Oct. 28 at Rambergsvallen. Although level on points with Helsingborg, Malmö holds first place on goal difference.
Helsingborg 3, Åtvidaberg 0 HELSINGBORG—Prodigy striker Alexander Gerndt scored twice to lead Helsingborg to a 3-0 win Oct. 24 at Olympia Stadium. Gerndt scored both his goals in the first half. He has 11 goals in 14 games for Helsingborg to go along with nine in 13 matches for Gefle. Erik Sundin scored in the second half, giving four goals in four games.
Trelleborg 2, Göteborg 1 GÖTEBORG—Trelleborg picked up a rare road victory Oct. 25 as it beat IFK Göteborg 2-1 at Gamla Ullevi. Tobias Hysén put the home side ahead after 31 minutes. Joakim Nilsson tied the game nine minutes into the second half. Marcus Pode scored the game winner six minutes from time.
AIK 2, Halmstad 1 HALMSTAD—AIK crawled three points of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over Halmstad Oct. 25 at Orjans Vall. Victor Lundberg and Kenny Pavey scored in a five-minute span in the second half to give AIK the win.
Gefle 1, GAIS 0 GÄVLE—Gefle remained mired in second-to-last place despite a 1-0 win Oct. 24 over GAIS at Strömvallen. Jacob Orlov scored the lone goal of the match in the 39th minute. Gefle is one point behind Åtvidaberg for the relegation spot.
Djurgården 4, Elfsborg 4 STOCKHOLM—Elfsborg squandered three different leads and settled for a 4-4 draw Oct. 24 with Djurgården at Stockholm Stadium. Elfsborg took leads on goals from Amadou Jawo, Stefan Ishizaki and Denni Avdic and got an equalizer on an own goal. DIF countered with a pair of strikes from Kennedy Igboananike and single goals from Prince Ikpe Ekong and Petter Gustafsson. For Avdic, the goal was his 19th of the season.
Örebro 1, Brommapojkarna 1 ÖREBRO—Astrit Ajdarevic scored in the 58th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw for Örebro Oct. 25 with last-place BP. Bromma took the lead after just seven minutes when Joakim Runnemo scored off a pass from Pablo Pinones Arce.
Kalmar 1, Mjällby 1 KALMAR—Mostafa El Kabir extended his scoring streak to three straight games as he helped Mjällby claim a 1-1 draw Oct. 24 with Kalmar at Fredriksskans. Ricardo Santos put Kalmar in front after 56 minutes while El Kabir tied the game at the 69-minute mark.
Daniel Larsson scores the opening goal of Malmö's 4-0 win Oct. 27 over BK Häcken. Bildbyrån photo